I've started using a new time tracking tool. I have never been good at using those, but I do see their importance and I have used my own.

At any rate, as a result, being a couple of weeks into the job I have tended to forget to turn on my time tracker and so tend to fall short some hours. Even when I don't forget or don't think I forget, I am falling short some hours.

What should I look at to figure out why I am not capturing a full 8 hours on my time tracker? I mean aside from forgetting, as I have gotten better with that, but still losing time.

Could it be context switching and putting out fires? How can I measure what is going on?

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    Hi Daniel, are you looking for product support specific to Harvest, or are you asking more for advice on how to remember to consistently track your time using any time tracker? – David K Feb 13 '19 at 19:19
  • @DavidK, I am not looking for product support. I am using the Pomodoro technique to track myself and sometimes I forget to click on Harvest, but even now that I am remembering I am finding I come short of 8 hours. So, if you were me, where would you look first? – Daniel Feb 13 '19 at 19:49
  • How much time are you losing on the days that you remember to turn on/off, is it a few seconds or a minute or two or is it much longer? – sf02 Feb 13 '19 at 20:15
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    @sf02, an our or two, it usually ends up being 6 or 7 hours at the end of the day. I feel like my lunch hour is screwing that up or how I am doing it. – Daniel Feb 13 '19 at 20:18
  • Just don't track time. If you don't like doing so - work somewhere that does not require it! – Fattie Feb 13 '19 at 21:46

I'm confused at your question.

You say you forget to turn on the time tracker but don't know the reason why you're short on hours?

The issue you should be focusing on is why you forget to turn on tracking.

Maybe set a reminder on your phone as you get into work or an email alert?


I see the edit to the original post.

If you're losing time still even after starting on time it may be losing time when switching.

If you have no other choice but to use Harvest, another poster has also suggested using a different time tracker that's automated to be more accurate.

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  • This doesn't really answer the question. Can you please edit out the negated questions (which should really have been comments) and make this into a unique answer? Or you can delete the answer if you feel you can't add anything to the existing answers. – user44108 Feb 14 '19 at 6:56

Don't track time manually, use some sort of automated activity monitor

A quick google search for "time tracker plugins" provided several great alternatives.

There is an open source one called WakaTime (https://wakatime.com/time-tracking-for-your-ide) that appears promising.

Unless you're in the extremely lucky position of only working on a single task at a time, never being interrupted, and never having a fire to put out, manual time tracking will not work.

Let a plugin tell you what you are actually doing and go from there.

How to use this with Harvest (or any other manual tracker)

I've never seen a time tracker that wouldn't allow manual entry. Just track your time per day with an automated method, then log it.

You could also approach your boss with the suggestion to auto-track. I'm guessing you are not the only one who's time tracker results are seriously off.

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  • Sevens, this sounds promising. I would not be able to use it as an alternative to Harvest. I have to use Harvest as well. Can I use both? Because you captured my situation perfectly and I think all that context switching is where I am losing time. – Daniel Feb 13 '19 at 19:50
  • While I haven't used Harvest, there is usually a way of manually entering time in the system. Just enter the time recorded in waka at the end of the day. – sevensevens Feb 13 '19 at 20:13

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